“You have 15 more minutes to sleep, you’re fine. Hit snooze.”
“Okay, you really have 30 more minutes to sleep. Snooze again.”
“You don’t even have to get up for another… CRAP, I’m late!”
I’ve had this early-morning conversation with myself so many times. My husband calls it the “Morning Trickeries.” Somehow, my sleepy brain convinces me that I have a limitless amount of hours to get ready in the morning. Then, as I later speed down the highway, I think back with a clear mind and am baffled at why I thought I could hit snooze three times. (Okay, four).
Please tell me you do the same thing.
I wish I could say that this was the only time my thoughts lied to me. But it’s not. In fact, there are times when I feel like I’m in a battle with my mind all day long.
“He’s mad at me.”
“She doesn’t really like me.”
“I’m not pretty.”
“My life will amount to nothing.”
“I’m totally alone.”
This is an example of the kinds of thoughts that cross my mind just about every other week, if not every other day. And when these little lies are whispering, sometimes screaming, at me all day long, they begin to control me.
While they begin as little lies, they start feeding off each other and grow into what I perceive as truth. Then, those “truths” begin to determine my mood. My mood begins to determine my actions. And what originated as some silly, insecure thought is now affecting my relationship with my husband, my friends, and my family.
Oh, and I can’t forget to mention that when I’m buying into the lies in my head, anxiety roars. My heart rate increases, the thoughts grow darker, and I basically think myself into a deep hole. All stemming from one untrue, fake, stupid lie. A passing thought that was never based on fact.
But where did that lie come from? How did it get there? There had to be some reason I thought it in the first place, right?
I have a guess, and I’m just going to throw it out there…
The lies come from my heart.
I’m not talking about the literal beating organ inside my chest, but the innermost keeper of emotion, past hurts, and all the feels. You know when people say, “Follow your heart.” Yeah, that’s the heart I’m talking about.
The ironic thing about that phrase is that the “heart” we are supposed to be following is also the heart that’s often disconnected from reality, confused with baggage and shifting emotions, affected ever-so-easily by the change of the weather, feeding our mind with insecurity and entitlement. In fact, the Bible says that the heart is deceitful and desperately sick! This is the heart we are supposed to be following?
Perhaps someone once broke your heart, you were exposed to hurtful things at a young age, or your eyes have been clouded by ridiculous commercials telling you what perfection looks like. We all have reasons why our hearts might be sick. And I certainly have my own. But guess what? All of our hearts are broken in a way.
I know I sound like an extreme Debbie-downer right now. But I’m not saying this to discourage you, but to encourage you that you are not alone. There is nothing distinctively wrong with you.
Though, here’s the good news: there are ways to combat the lies.
1. Realize that your thoughts are not always true.
Please do not immediately accept them as fact. And be very careful with the whole idea of following your heart. Odds are that ranges of fleeting emotions are trying to lead your heart. And remember, your emotions are not always a reflection of reality.
2. Do not allow those thoughts to quietly marinate inside your brain. Get them out before they grow into life-sucking monsters. Tell someone.
I have a few people that I always turn to when I start going down the dark path of lies. I call them or go to breakfast with them and basically say, “Okay, this is what I’m thinking. This is what I feel. Am I crazy? Am I wrong?”
They always bring me back to reality. I often have to take down any defensive wall I may have up, because I need someone to tell me that I’m wrong.
There’s an important caveat here: Please make sure this person you’re confiding in loves you, believes in truth, and isn’t afraid to tell you the truth. If this is simply an opportunity to vent and to have someone affirm your feelings, it will end up being more harmful than keeping your thoughts to yourself. Been there. Not fun.
For me, the last thing I’m about to tell you is so vitally important.
3. Sit down, grab a Bible, and find God.
I hold nothing back. I say exactly what I’m thinking and I ask Him for help out of the pit. I compare my thoughts with the thoughts of God as I turn the pages in the Bible.
And then… I do it again the next day, and the next, and the next. This is not always an instant fix. Sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn’t. But the words I’m reading are true.
If I keep reading, keep waiting, keep praying, keep seeking accountability, keep fighting back, and keep feeding my heart with things that are true, I am brought back to center.
If you haven’t found God and you think I’m crazy, please hear me out. I have tried working through the mess in my brain on my own so many times. It’s lonely, it’s exhausting, and it’s never successful in the long run.
Start asking questions. Look for a friend who might be able to help you through those questions. I can promise you from experience, this will change your entire life.
I have a choice to focus on truth. And when I do, I always eventually wake up.
No, it doesn’t always “fix me” right away. But that doesn’t mean I give up and lose the fight against the lies. If I did that, I would be choosing to be miserable. I have a choice to focus on truth. And when I do, I always eventually wake up.
My heart wakes up from the “morning trickeries” and I get back to living a full, genuine, joyful life, guided by truth, not lies.
Reprinted with permission from I Am Second, 2017.